back to article Yank my blockchain: Bitcoin upgrade SNAFU borks hungry miners' currency

Bitcoin users have been urged to switch to pool mines that fully validate data blocks, after the virtual currency system hit a major snag during a planned upgrade. The open source P2P community warned on Saturday that "many wallets" were "currently vulnerable to double-spending of confirmed transactions." Anyone who received …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And to think there's all that hoo-hah when banks have trouble shuffling 'real' currency between accounts

    1. Little Mouse Silver badge

      'real currency'

      Every time I read a BitCoin story I get a very short-lived smug feeling of schadenfreude for the saps who've been caught out by the latest disaster (Again! Do they never learn?)

      Then I remember what 'real currency' really is, and start to worry.

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You make it sound easy, but it is not

      You're ignoring the not inconsiderable probability that being an early adopter on a new version opens you up to newly introduced bugs. Not only the "0 day oops", but bugs that can persist for years (i.e. the recent bugs in OpenSSL, some of which affected all recent versions, but did not affect very out of date versions)

      You are potentially screwed either way. The problem with bitcoin is that if you screw up on a software upgrade like this, it costs you money. With dollars or euros, if your bank screws up and allows someone to spend their money twice, they are responsible so it costs you nothing. If a bank ever really screwed up and lost all their money due to dodgy software, the FDIC (and I assume something similar in the UK & EU) protects you.

      We who read the Reg are mostly IT people who are amongst the most clueful about this stuff but even we don't and can't get this right all the time. What chance does the average Joe have to figure all this out? He only patches Windows because that's the default, and his PC does it while he sleeps so he may not even know it is happening.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. foxyshadis

          Re: You make it sound easy, but it is not

          How do you keep an eye out for bugs without running into said bugs? Once one loses your data, you're screwed anyway and it's time to find a backup, if any.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: You make it sound easy, but it is not

            How do you keep an eye out for bugs without running into said bugs?

            "Never be at the forefront of technology. Always stay a step back and slightly to the left." --C.J. Parker

            That's how. You will see the bugs coming, and flying right by you. Make sure you know when you are and when you are not acting as an implicit public beta tester. For the bugs which are invariably in the stuff you already use, you keep an eye out (on the inet) for news about any that your own use case hasn't triggered yet, so you can patch or upgrade or whatever before they manifest. For bugs and anti-patterns and administrative FAILs that can leak data as opposed to merely destroying it: just remember that you can't backup and restore your reputation, and act accordingly. I guess that makes me Capt. Obvious but apparently there are plenty of people who still don't know...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: You make it sound easy, but it is not

              The idea of 'watching out for bugs' is fine (in theory at least) for those of us who work in the IT I suppose, but how does that help the average guy?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: You make it sound easy, but it is not

                There was a woman who put something like 150k miles on her SUV (or whatever) without a single oil change, without even knowing that it was necessary, and she gets laughed at. Average Guy isn't exempt; you have to take responsibility and/or take classes and/or take the advice of someone who knows or take a lot of risks or not use the stuff in the first place. I could wish that more would land on that last notch but between the proliferation of smart phones and FarceBook, it's hopeless.

                But hey, maybe more Average Guys will hear about the US gov getting pants'd through their computers while it's 'unfolding' on the television, and maybe more of them will think "oh, maybe I should..."

                Never forget that the act of using anything that you didn't build or can't understand is an implicit declaration of trust in the one(s) who did, whether they're into SUVs or servers.

                --Capt. Obvious

                1. Nigel 11

                  Re: You make it sound easy, but it is not

                  There was a woman who put something like 150k miles on her SUV (or whatever) without a single oil change, without even knowing that it was necessary,

                  The people who really need to be laughed at are the ones who junked that SUV when it finally broke down, or tipped the oil in the sludge can and serviced it in the usual way. Had they stripped that engine down and analyzed the oil in forensic detail, they might have learned something valuable! (I'm assuming that they didn't).

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: You make it sound easy, but it is not

                    It didn't break down. She turned it in when the lease was up or traded it in or whatever and they found out it had never been done. She said something along the lines of, 'oh! I sort of thought it had been running poorly, is that why?'

    2. Bronek Kozicki
      Facepalm

      Reading stories like this one I would think that there ought to be some incentive for signed email, too. Apparently not ...

  3. x 7

    whats it mean in the real world... real money?

    seems to me that if a software upgrade can bork it, then hacking it to spend fake money must be possible

  4. Mage Silver badge
    Trollface

    It's not money any, even if it costs you money

    It's a speculation medium, vaguely like Tulips, London Property values, Pyramid schemes and the South Sea bubble.

    It's not a true crypto-currency either.

  5. graeme leggett

    The speculation largely lies at either end of the system doesn't it.

    Say I sell coffee beans on the internet and take payment in bitcoins because that's what my customers want. So long as I can spend them promptly to buy something concrete that I want, then I'm ok.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why don't Greece adopt it as their national currency?

    Makes sense when you think about it, No banks to complain about and the computers can do all the work while they eat olives in the sun.

  7. Ken Y-N
    FAIL

    Greece has already said NO!

    See here:

    http://yanisvaroufakis.eu/2013/04/22/bitcoin-and-the-dangerous-fantasy-of-apolitical-money/

    Basically, for 10 million Greeks, they could each do one transaction every four days or so, which would be good for eating olives in the sun, I suppose. Furthermore, Greece would be beholden to early adopters, mostly a bunch of Anarchist Capitalists, and to Chinese miners, who provide most of the electricity-wasting security that keep Bitcoin contributing 47 kg of CO2 for every single transaction.

    See https://www.reddit.com/r/Buttcoin/ for more realism regarding Bitcoin, and a fuller explanation of how utterly broken the whole Bitcoin "protocol" is.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bitcoins; I just don't get it

    And for that I am glad.

  9. CaptainBanjax

    May I ask...

    How many of the people hating on Bitcoin have ever held any Bitcoin?

    Just wondering if you're part of the same crowd that sasy "you dont need more than £1million or a car that goes faster than 70mph theres no point".

    Im personally on the fence with bitcoin with a slight bias towards being pro BTC. I see both its merits and drawbacks but I cant quite see how to make something like it mainstream yet.

    People entirely against trying out a new system for currency must still trade in eggs and worms.

    Why the fuck would you stop using perfectly usable stuff as currency when you can use metal discs and paper? Ker-razy!!!!

    There is definitely something worthwhile in Bitcoin given the investment that is still being put towards blockchain R&D. Theres a couple of banks (including Santander) who have a real hard on for Bitcoin and blockchain tech at the moment...they're chucking money at it!

    1. Nigel 11

      Re: May I ask...

      There is definitely something worthwhile in Bitcoin given the investment that is still being put towards blockchain R&D.

      Always bear in mind that currency has two purposes: a store of value and a medium of exchange. Those who seek to make a fortune using bitcoin as a store of value, risk losing a fortune. It's more fragile than electronic pounds sterling or dollars, and *much* more fragile than gold.

      But as a medium of exchange, it may have a lot going for it. Coin, Banknotes, Cheques, Visa, Paypal ... Bitcoin?

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